MLS: Week 7
Saturday, April 19 (Report)
Chivas USA 1 Seattle 2.
Real Salt Lake 1 Portland 0.
FC Dallas 2 Toronto FC 1.
Sporting KC 4 Montreal 0.
Colorado 0 San Jose 0.
Vancouver 2 LA Galaxy 2.
Columbus 1 D.C. United 1.
Philadelphia 0 Houston 0.
Chicago 1 New England 1.
Wednesday, April 16 (Report)
New York 2 Philadelphia 1.
1. REAL SALT LAKE (3-0-4), 1. Rimando is in the zone. He marked his return from a knee injury suffered playing for the USA against Mexico April 2 to blank Portland, 1-0, for his 111th shutout, one behind the all-time record held by Kevin Hartman. Rimando’s knack for big saves in critical situations saved the victory; in the final minutes he stoned the Timbers with a kick save and a flying tip of a shot bound for the top corner. Ned Grabavoy’s clever run and unerring finish into the bottom corner decided the outcome, by which RSL extended its unbeaten run against Portland to 10 games.
2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (3-1-2), 2. Dom Dwyer is single-handedly showing what the right loan deal can do for a player and his team(s). He scored twice against Montreal in a 4-0 romp last weekend to up his take this season to four goals, and with each appearance is proving that his double-dip of MLS and USL PRO (with Orlando City) titles last year wasn’t a one-off. Lawrence Olum stepped into midfield for an injured Ori Rosell to anchor a defensive effort that smothered the Impact for long periods and posted SKC’s third shutout in the last four games.
3. FC DALLAS (5-1-1), 6. A team-record 16 corner kicks and a rally from 1-0 down marked FCD’s return to its winning ways, a 2-1 defeat of Toronto FC. Two Matt Hedges headers produced the goals: he nodded in a Michel corner kick to tie the game, and knocked down a ball won in the air by Stephen Keel for Blas Perez to score a late winner. Fabian Castillo scorched TFC numerous times down the left side to hit four shots, all of which missed the frame. Regular keeper Raul Fernandez has recovered from injury to play for the FCD reserves, so coach Oscar Pareja must choose between him and Chris Seitz, who has conceded 10 goals in seven games.
4. SEATTLE (4-2-1), 5. Last season, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey seldom clicked, but so far in 2014 they are the most potent forward pairing in MLS. They have combined for eight goals and seven assists already, and Dempsey assisted on both goals in a 2-1 comeback defeat of Chivas USA. Dempsey set up the equalizer by poking a loose ball into the middle for Lamar Neagle to lash into the net, and in the 81st minute he glided through midfield to draw three opponents before releasing a return pass Martins chipped home. MLS may not be a top-flight league, but that winner was a first-class goal.
5. COLORADO (3-1-2), 3. Dillon Serna again came off the bench to provide an offensive spark, but steady rains and a determined band of Earthquakes frustrated the Rapids in a 0-0 tie. Colorado controlled possession for nearly 61 percent of the game yet managed just one shot on goal. However, it also limited San Jose to zero shots on target while recording a second consecutive shutout. Serna, the catalyst for the goal by which Colorado beat TFC, 1-0, last weekend came on in the 70th minute but despite his play disrupting the Quakes, who lost Adam Jahn to a red card in the final minutes, the winning goal never came.
6. COLUMBUS (3-1-2), 4. The momentum of three straight victories to open the season has slackened yet the Crew ground out a point in difficult circumstances. It battled back after going down to 10 men and scored in stoppage time to tie D.C. United, 1-1. Bernardo Anor’s ejection in the 81st minute left it shorthanded, but as time waned Wil Trapp stripped an opponent of the ball and played a diagonal pass that Hector Jimenez curled into the net. The attack had been lagging until a few subs, including Justin Meram, entered the match, so head coach Gregg Berhalter may be considering changes with important games looming against the Red Bulls and Sporting KC.
7. LOS ANGELES (2-1-2), 7. Goals by Stefan Ishizaki and Robbie Keane earned the Galaxy a 2-2 tie in Vancouver but twice the Galaxy conceded equalizers. Headers by Baggio Husidic and Rob Friend set up the goals as the Galaxy came away with four points from home-and-away games against the ‘Caps. Landon Donovan took just one shot and is still waiting for the goal that will set an all-time league record (135). Though it has played only five games, tied for the fewest in MLS, the Galaxy takes another break this weekend before playing at Colorado May 3.
8. VANCOUVER (2-2-3), 9. Darren Mattocks is providing more game-to-game influence than was present during his first two MLS seasons. He scored the first tying goal himself and set up Kekuta Manneh for a spectacular late equalizer in a 2-2 tie with the Galaxy. Mattocks started up top with Kenny Miller; between them, the pair took seven shots and drew four fouls. Manneh replaced Russell Teibert at halftime, and Pedro Morales took five shots in his 65 minutes of action. Thus the search for the “best” lineup continues.
9. TORONTO FC (3-3-0), 8. Issey Nakajima-Farran scored his second goal in the last three games but a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas continued a run of futility without Jermain Defoe in the lineup: three games, three defeats. TFC is plagued by poor defensive play; it conceded both goals through the air, the first on a corner kick and the second when its players lost two aerial duels and FCD scored from point-blank range. Another header from a corner required an excellent reflex save by keeper Julio Cesar. An abysmal midfield giveaway by centerback Bradley Orr presented FCD with a good chance. Something isn’t right.
10. PHILADELPHIA (1-2-5), 10. The Union started with veteran Conor Casey and recent trade acquisition Andrew Wenger together up front for the first time against Houston, yet Coach John Hackworth had also emphasized tighter defending in the preparations. The ensuing 0-0 stalemate extended Philly’s winless streak to six games and marked the first time it had been shut out in 2014, not surprising since its only shot on goal was a scuffed point-blank attempt by Casey with the keeper, Tally Hally, out of position that hit a defender instead. Philly also didn’t exploit a man-advantage for the final eight minutes plus stoppage time.
11. D.C. UNITED (2-2-2), 11. Following a 1-1 tie with the Crew, the United had issues with referee Juan Guzman. A foul by Giancarlo Gonzalez on Eddie Johnson looked worth of a red card for denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity, but only the yellow came out. However, rather than controlling the match with a 1-0 lead and man-advantage when Anor was sent off, D.C. instead allowed a tying goal. Fabian Espindola had scored the goal to put United ahead, yet United couldn’t build on the lead and Espindola could have been cautioned for his protest in the aftermath of the Johnson foul. How much better this team is than last year’s version isn’t yet known but it appears to be scrappier.
12. NEW ENGLAND (2-3-2), 12. Lee Nguyen, like several Revs, is searching for the consistent form that powered them to a third-place finish in 2013. His tying goal in a 1-1 tie with Chicago came from the penalty spot after a clumsy challenge bowled over Kevin Alston, who in the final minute gave away a penalty kick that keeper Bobby Shuttleworth saved to preserve the point. The Revs have five of their next eight at home but first up is a date with defending champion Sporting KC on Saturday.
13. HOUSTON (2-3-1), 13. Will Bruin fired a good chance over the crossbar and smacked another attempt off the post in the first half of a 0-0 at tie at Philadelphia that snapped a three-game losing streak. Officially, the Dynamo held Philly without a shot on goal, though a Casey shot would have gone in had not Kofi Sarkodie blocked it. Sarkodie departed with a second caution in the 82nd minute for time-wasting during a throw-in; that decision seemed debatable, though no one could quibble over his roughhouse tackle that produced the first yellow. Houston stays in the Northeast to play at Red Bull Arena Wednesday.
14. CHIVAS USA (1-3-3), 14. A disastrous bobble by the usually reliable Dan Kennedy and a red card to Marco Delgado opened the gates for Seattle, which rallied to win, 2-1, at StubHub Center. After "Cubo" Torres converted a penalty kick for the third time this season, Seattle equalized from Kennedy’s mistake and rode out some Chivas USA pressure to capitalize on the man advantage stemming from the 18-year-old Delgado’s dismissal. Mauro Rosales worked hard against his former team and Chivas USA lost an apparent goal when Torres was ruled to have fouled the opposing goalkeeper while both of them lunged for a Rosales’ centering pass.
15. CHICAGO (0-1-5), 15. There’s no end in sight. The Fire tied its sixth straight game, 1-1, with New England. Quincy Amarikwa scored his fourth goal to provide a lead Chicago couldn’t hold, and he wasn’t on the field – a second caution had dismissed him in the 73rd minute -- when the Fire squandered a last-minute penalty kick. Juan Luis Anangono’s attempt was saved, and Jeff Larentowicz’s follow-up shot missed the target. Anangono had replaced Harrison Shipp, who assisted on Amarikwa’s goal and orchestrated a few promising sequences.
16. NEW YORK (1-2-4) The Red Bulls got their first win at an opportune time; they sat out the weekend after beating Philly, 2-1, on Wednesday), and will take some momentum into road games at Columbus and FC Dallas. Midfielder Eric Alexander got somewhat of a surprise start against the Union and set up the winning goal for Lloyd Sam after contributing to the buildup from which Thierry Henry opened the scoring. Sam’s energetic work on the flanks has been a highlight despite the team’s rocky start during which it has yet to post a shutout.
17. SAN JOSE (0-2-3), 19. Alan Gordon rattled the Colorado crossbar with a header 38 seconds after the opening kickoff and that’s as close as the Quakes came to scoring in a 0-0 tie that left them winless. They were tough enough in the defensive end to blot out most of Colorado’s attacks, however, and only a couple of breakdowns required keeper Jon Busch to intervene. Head coach Mark Watson needed to be restrained during a melee that followed a straight red card to Jahn, who will sit out this weekend’s visit of Chivas USA.
18. PORTLAND (0-3-4), 18. Losing 1-0 to RSL is often the norm at Rio Tinto Stadium, but these times are anything but normal. A seventh straight game without a win and the first blanking of the season have tautened the tensions in Timbertown. Max Urruti failed to convert a one-v-one opportunity against Rimando and fired another attempt off the goalpost. Head coach Caleb Porter cited more cohesive offensive play as an encouraging sign, but at the other end lax defending by Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe left space for RSL to score its goal.
19. MONTREAL (0-4-3), 16. A tough night started with an own goal by Calum Mallace -- off a throw-in, of all things -- and ended 4-0, but not until the 71st minute did SKC break the game open by scoring three times in seven minutes. Still, producing just three shots just isn’t good enough. There is some good news; after three games at Olympic Stadium, including an opener delayed a day because of bad weather, the Impact gets back to Saputo Stadium Saturday to host Philadelphia.